Paris attacks hit home for SIUC students

By Cory Ray, @coryray_de

Some students in Carbondale are feeling personal effects of last week’s Paris terrorist attacks, and two recall reaching out to family members in the area after the attack.

Warrys Akadiri, an undeclared freshman from Paris, France, was worried about his family when he first heard of Friday’s attacks.

Akadiri called his family the day following the attacks, but he did not hear from them for three days.


“They called me, and they told me they’re fine because [the attacks] didn’t really go to their area,” Akadiri said. “I also feel bad, though, because it’s where I’m from, so it’s kind of hard.”

Three bombings occurred outside of Stade de France during a soccer match between France and Germany. Akadiri said he had been to the stadium and near the areas attacked many times. According to The New York Times, 129 people were killed on Friday at multiple locations, including 89 people killed at the Bataclan concert hall.

Akadiri said his family has felt a mixture of both worry and gratitude. He plans to travel to Paris this summer, as he does every year. 

“I still love the atmosphere,” Akadiri said. “I still love everything [about the city].”

Rashad Nageeb, a graduate student in mechanical engineering from Saudi Arabia, said he has experienced many of the same fears, in addition to receiving hateful speech.

“I freaked out because I have a family member over there,” Nageeb said. “I called my cousin … for like six hours trying to reach him. He didn’t answer, didn’t do anything. I freaked out. It was like, I need to make sure he’s okay.”

Nageeb managed to get a hold of his cousin — who was unharmed — but said initially hearing about the attacks was scary.


After praying, Nageeb was verbally attacked for his Islamic beliefs by a group of people who told him Muslim people are the reason for the attacks.

“I usually don’t get offended, but it hit that nerve,” Nageeb said. “For someone to come in front of you … and just start talking about your beliefs, your family, your people, it just hurt me a little bit.” 

Nageeb said he commonly receives similar reactions to his beliefs.

“It’s happened to me on a daily basis sometimes,” Nageeb said. “Every year on 9/11, people come and stop to talk to me.”

However, Nageeb said his religion and peaceful followers should not be condemned for the radical actions of a few who claim that doctrine. 

“Our religion itself is not violent,” Nageeb said. “Whether Islam, Jewish, Christian, whatever. It’s the people who are violent. Being from that religion doesn’t mean that religion told you to do bad things.”

Cory Ray can be reached at 536-3326 or at [email protected]